Heading into today’s Champions League match against Dortmund in Germany, the narrative about Tottenham Hotspur has been less about how Spurs might clinch Group H with a win and more about whether the 2-0 North London Derby loss at the weekend might have impacted Spurs’ confidence.
Christian Eriksen isn’t having that, however. In comments to the press reported in the Evening Standard, Eriksen acknowledged that the loss to Arsenal stung, but that the whole team is itching for an immediate turnaround in Europe’s biggest club football competition.
“We went into the Arsenal game feeling confident and then, when you get a knock on the head, of course, you are going to lie down. But I think what we showed so far in the games after is to play, to show we are better and to come back. That’s what we have to do.”
Eriksen also dismissed the notion that the North London Derby result might have somehow knocked this Spurs team out of alignment somehow, or dinged their chances of competing for the top positions in the Premier League. He even took a mild swipe at the English media for ginning up the loss and its implications.
“We are disappointed but there is a game every other day, so we have to play again. We’ve still shown in the big games that we can compete. We lost last Saturday but if people have seen the game, I think we had our chances.
“We had some good games and have still had some good results this season, but people need to talk, you need to write. We know at Wembley first it was all about ‘we never win at Wembley’, but we never hear that anymore. So, of course, everything changes.”
Mauricio Pochettino, in his pre-match press conference, said that the Spurs side that takes the pitch at the Signal Iduna today will have some rotation, but will still be a very strong team.
“We are going to play with our best team, fresh players, and never taking risks because their health is most important. But, of course, we are going to make some changes from Saturday's game. We have a lot of games ahead. The most busy period is coming. You need all the squad fit to be able to compete at a good level.”
The match could also be a reunion of sorts between Dele Alli and match official Clement Turpin, who was the match official for the England vs. Slovakia which saw Dele banned for one match for BirdGate™, i.e. flipping the middle finger at his teammate Kyle Walker. Pochettino said that he’d speak to Dele and make sure he’s on his best behavior.
“It's important to be aware. I will tell Dele to be careful if he plays. Always it's important. The referee moves on and I'm sure there was nothing in his mind to ban him for that but this is always good to know and I will tell Dele.”